‘Say Goodbye to the 60-hour Work Week’

Steal techniques from this great WIIFM copy

You know that the topic is never the topic: The reader is the topic.

‘Say Goodbye to the 60-hour Work Week’

Tick tock Give the reader what she wants: Don’t tell her about your video; tell her how much time she’ll save. Image by Lukas Blazek

You’ve acknowledged that readers don’t care about “us and our stuff”; they care about themselves and their needs. You buy into the notion that the first thing your reader wants to know about your message is WIIFM, or What’s In It For Me.

Now what?

The next step is to find some great WIIFM copy to model. And have I got a piece for you. Here’s Briefings Publishing Group’s promo for a how-to video. The WIIFM copy is well worth modeling.

Here it is — with, of course, my notes:

The promoWhat to steal/avoid
Say Goodbye to the 60-hour Work WeekThe headline starts with the imperative voice — aka the implied “you.” That’s great.

Plus, it’s specific. Not “long hours at the office,” but “the 60-hour work week.” Don’t forget to quantify and specify your own marketing copy.

What’s important to understand is that the sharpest, most creative work can’t be done if you’re burned out. The most effective employees get away from the office to recharge. But that’s not always easy to do.Here, we move back from the second person to the third. Not a great choice.

A braver, more benefits-oriented approach would be to speak directly to “you,” as in, “You can’t do your sharpest, most creative work when you’re burned out …”

That’s why we’ve created this new video Take Back Your Time: How to Manage Your Workload and Still Have a Life. Whether you’re a workaholic, last-minute adrenaline addict or simply just can’t say “no” to your colleagues’ requests, you’ll discover tips and tactics guaranteed to help you free up your time and get your life back, including:It’s a smart choice to lead with the problem in the first paragraph and follow up with the solution in the second.

But instead of moving into first person plural (“we’ve created”), keep focusing on the reader (“Now you can make time to relax and recharge and ensure that your time spent in the office is creative and productive with our new video …”)

The second sentence is a masterpiece of you-focused benefits writing.

  • How to liberate yourself by identifying and tossing out the non-essentials.
  • How to be ready with these “enders” when you’re trapped in a never-ending conversation.
  • How to make a lifechanging “DON’T Do List.”
  • How to become a pro at exercising your ability to just say “No.”
  • How to get out of the office using the “quitting time buddy system.”
  • How to streamline and focus the two most critical work systems.
  • How to avoid the temptation to multitask, and much more!
This is a nice list of benefits, but a verb list would highlight the WIIFMs more effectively — and unload 14 words in repeated “How to’s.”

To create a verb list, set up the “how to” in the intro to the list: ” … you’ll discover tips and tactics guaranteed to help you free up your time and get your life back, including how to:”

Now you can start each bullet with a verb. See how much stronger this list is with bullets that begin “Liberate,” “Streamline” and  “Avoid.”

Guideline: Start your lists with verbs whenever possible. It will condense your copy, activate your language and bring the benefits to the front of your list. Here’s how it works:

You’ll learn how to:

  • Liberate yourself by identifying and tossing out the non-essentials.
  • Free yourself from never-ending conversation by using these “enders.”
  • Make a lifechanging “DON’T Do List.”
  • Become a pro at exercising your ability to just say “No.”
  • Get out of the office using the “quitting time buddy system.”
  • Streamline and focus the two most critical work systems.
  • Avoid the temptation to multitask.
  • And much more!

All right: You’ve got your model; now use it. Reach more readers and sell more ideas when you write in WIIFMs, not about “us and our stuff.”

  • Think Like a Reader

    Move people to act

    It’s counterintuitive, but true: The product is never the topic. The program is never the topic. The plan is never the topic. The topic is never the topic. The reader is always the topic.

    Think Like a Reader in Dallas

    Indeed, the secret to reaching readers is to position your messages in your audience’s best interests. (Most communicators position their messages in their organization’s best interests. Which is fine, as long as you’re talking to yourself.)

    Move readers to act with a four-step process for giving people what they really want.

    At Catch Your Readers — our two-day hands-on persuasive-writing master class on Oct. 2-3 in Dallas — you’ll learn a four-step process for moving readers to act by giving them what they really want. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

    • Take advantage of the formula readers use to determine which messages to pay attention to (and which to toss).
    • Tap two rewards of reading you can use to boost audience interest in your message.
    • Answer the No. 1 question your reader is asking, regardless of your topic, medium or channel.
    • Make a two-minute perspective shift to focus your message on the value to readers — not on “us and our stuff.”
    • Use a three-letter word that magically makes your message more relevant to your readers.

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